tv BBC World News PBS August 25, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT
what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> welcome to "newsday" on the bbc. i'm in singapore. >> i'm in london. our headlines this hour -- >> tightening their grip on tripoli, libyan rebels move their government to the capital. funding libya's future, the u.n. votes to vote more than $5 billion in assets. >> hurricane irene tears through america's eastern seaboard. north carolina, new york, and virginia have declared states of emergency. steve jobs sits down as the company's chief executive. he's set to stay on as chairman. it's 9:00 a.m. here in singapore. >> it's 2:00 a.m. here in london, broadcasting to viewers on pbs in america and around the world. this is "newsday."
>> hello, and welcome. as fighting continues in libya, the rebels say they're transfering their government's capital of tripoli from their base in benghazi. colonel gaddafi isn't ready to give up yet. he urged libyans to destroy the rebels. the heaviest fighting is still near olede gaddafi's old capitol in the capital. this report does contain some graphic images. >> descending into colonel gaddafi's underground fortress. the tunnels ran for miles and could have been his escape route. today, rebel fighters were taking the tour. seeing where gaddafi's troops
had been holed up. abandoned in a corner, some of their supplies. this underground labyrinth, the secret world was incredibly well constructed. the ceilings here are very high. the walls are very solid. over hering i've just found a phone which was obviously used for internal communication. this is a motorized cart. looks like a golf bug gee. who knows if the libyan leader was transported through these tunnels in this cart. >> colonel gaddafi knew he wouldn't be disturbed here behind these reinforced tours. aboveground, others were cut down in the battle for tripoli. in the compound, we found bodies lying where they fell. gaddafi loyalists, one rebel said.
we can't be sure who killed them, but one man appeared to have been executed. he had been shot through the head with his hands still bound. a short distance away, the rebels are hunting for a sniper's nest. but up ahead, a glimpse of a bigger threat. such was the answer. a full scale street battle. the fighters were dangerously exposed. they brought out their improvised big guns. as their rockets propelled grenades.
another burst of rebel gunfire there. they've been trying to move forward. for about an hour we were pinned down. then it was time to make a get-away. the rebels were running low on ammunition. we escaped with two bullet holes in our car. this is just one pocket of resistance. who knows how many more there may be. the rebels are tightening their grip here, but in the capital, these are still dangerous days. "bbc news," tripoli. >> as we saw there in that report, the situation in tripoli is incredibly precarious, but we are lucky enough to speak to a resident from there. rama is a student and co-founder
of tripoli girls speak out, and she joins us on the line from the capital now. a lot of fighting earlier on. what's the situation now? >> what i heard was that tripoli is 99% free. they took over every area in tripoli. >> so where do you think these pockets of resistance are coming from? >> they were here since before this thing started. i got a phone call now from one of the rebels. he told me that they took over and it's 9% free. -- 99% free. >> so they're feeling confident there is just this one percentage point of pro gaddafi forces. the rebels are feeling confident that they will be able to overthrow them? >> yeah. that's what he told me. >> and where is this pocket? where is this 1%? were they clear on which location in tripoli they are still based?
>> the area of -- i don't know if you heard anything about it. >> just whereabouts is that? >> the forces are still outside, but there are some pro gaddafi people. he told me they're still in their houses. no one will harm them. they're just people that love him. though they're not going to do anything about them. but there are still forces in the street. >> so they're taking a very slow approach with trying to ease them out. just talk to us about the conditions for ordinary residents. what's the situation with water, with electricity? do you have any supplies? >> the water has been cut off for a whole day now. there is no water running. the food -- we can't get to food because the shops are all closed. they have been closed for four days. electricity goes on and off.
it comes for three hours and then goes off for 24 hours. >> ok. a resident in tripoli giving us the latest update there. thank you very much for that. diplomats at the u.n. say that a deal has been reached to release $1.5 billion of frozen assets to meet urgent humanitarian needs. some of the money would go to rebel leaders. but the bbc's barbara plat in new york said that after days of impass, south africa finally agreed to release the frozen money, as many u.n. members already recognized the m.t.c. as the leading authority in libya. >> the americans who put forward the request worked for two weeks to try to get the u.n. committee that monitors sanctions to agree to unfreeze this amount of money. there are a lot of questions about to whom it would be going, exactly. how it could be ensured that this money would benefit the libyan people. they convinced everybody, except the south africans who continued to put on a block on it, saying
if you give money to the rebel leaders, because some of the money was designated for them, it's as if you're recognizing them as a legitimate government. the african union hasn't done that. so finally, it came down to the wire and the americans and the overcome those objection, and that means that the money will be released and most of it is going to go to emergency humanitarian aid. >> barbara, just remind us why south africa was reluctant to agree to these terms with the national transitional council being mentioned. >> well, there's a feeling from some members that the conflict is still ongoing. it isn't quite clear what the next interim government will be. now, it's true that gaddafi has left tripoli. he's on the run. his regime has collapsed. but there is still fighting. so they're saying do you really want to be giving money to one side of a conflict? one conflict is ongoing. we should wait and see how the
conflict ends and an interim conflict is established. that would be the authority to give the money to the libyan people, because these billions and billions of dollars are the frozen assets of the libyan people. the argument of the western states, especially the americans who wanted to unfreeze this money, is that there's urgent humanitarian needs. as you know from practice, or just de facto, many countries have already recognized the m.t.c. or the rebel leaders and they're trying to build on the rebel council as to what will be the next government. so that kind of pressure coming from those countries held sway hoar. >> barbara from the united nations on the release of those frozen assets. all the signs are that gaddafi's last remaining stronghold is his birthplace, and still home to many of his loyal supporters. rebel forces have been advancing towards the city, but their progress has been blocked by gaddafi's forces. it is some 450 kilometers to the east of tripoli and the rebel front line is now some 96
kilometers from outside the city. our correspondent paul wood has sent this report. >> it's not quite over yet. this afternoon, rockets exchanged fire in the desert. tanks, too. the rebels are pushing out reinforcements. 60 miles from colonel gaddafi's birthplace, there his troops are expected to make a last stand. >> we are engaged with the enemy. with heavy artillery. >> i believe they are coming from there. >> are they still attacking? >> that's what you can see now, attacking us. >> such attacks could be to
cover the retreat. rebels still hope that talks with tribal leaders there will end this peacefully. they're baffled by the continued resistance. >> gaddafi ran away. apparently it's personal. i don't know. i don't know what they're fighting for. they must believe in this guy. i don't know. >> signs of libya's oil well, but the infrastructure is broken. even here in the shadow of the refinery, there are petrol cues. the rebels badly need international agreements to unfreeze a billion and a half dollars in assets. the rebel command is expected. colonel gaddafi, it would all be over if he would have no more reason to fight. that expectation has been confounded. one rebel commander told me -- there goes another one.
the loyalists simply wonder where the leader is out of power. could also be revenge attacks. both sides are digging in here for a fight which commanders on this side certainly think would last another three or four days. >> the representatives from the national transitional council on losing -- moving from benghazi to tripoli. we can speak to somebody from benghazi now. jane betemit is a lawsuit student there. she joins us on the line. when you first of all saw that benghazi fell into rebel hands, did you ever imagine this next stage that tripoli would also fall? >> we've been waiting anxiously for months for tripoli to fall, and we're delighted for the people of tripoli. tripoli has been a city under siege for months now. and finally people can speak
freely, demonstrate freely, and freedom is in their grasp. >> do you think the national transitional council is ready, is in a position to take over, for some kind of coherent government? >> i support the transitional -- the national transitional council. i mean, they have plans for -- security plans in place. i have faith in them. i do know the libyan people support them. they are our government. >> they have quite a specific blueprint that talks about there not being a security vacuum, that there will not be a power vacuum. you feel confident that they can deliver? >> i do feel confident that they will deliver. i mean, they have done great things so far. we have seen countries all over the world recognize them. and like i said, i have faith in
them. i think they will deliver. >> jane, a law student speaking to us from benghazi. thank you. >> on the bbc live from singapore and london, still to come, the caribbean council -- now u.s. authorities from north carolina to new york prepare for the worst from irene. what makes the apple -- we assess the future of the world's tallest company. let's go back to the situation in libya. this doctor has been working with a number of hospitals in tripoli. he's been telling me about his experiences. >> i have been to three or four of the hospitals around tripoli and some of the suburban areas as well, and most of these hospitals were the private hospitals, which have been opened up for all civilians, and
opened up the hospitals to receive casualties and to give medical treatment for anyone that needs it. they are quite stretched at the moment. they are relying very heavily on volunteer doctors. there is a shortage of staff. particularly of nursing staff and also scrub nurses and other health care and allied health care professionals. so i also went to the main hospital very briefly, which housed one of the biggest emergency departments. it's quite a chaotic scene. injured civilians every minute perhaps. some patients have very horrific
wounds. i'd say they're about probably 40 or 50 doctors, each one working at full capacity. if they're not able to cope with the number of casualties -- >> what about medical supplies? we're hearing reports that the gaddafi regime were able to stop food and medical supplies. do you think the hospitals are getting access to that? >> i have no idea where exactly the supplies are. tomorrow i'm hopefully going to try and investigate that a bit further. >> our headlines this hour, as fighting in tripoli continues, libyan rebels again to transfer their government to the capital. a deal has been striked with the u.n. to release $1.5 billion of
libyan assets to meet urgent humanitarian needs. authorities on the east coast of the united states from north carolina to new york city are preparing for the arrival of hurricane irene this weekend. the mayor of new york has said residents living in low-lying areas of the city should start moving out on friday before the hurricane's expected arrival there on sunday. three hurricanes already battered the bahamas, causing huge damage to buildings. let's get the latest from john, a meteorologist at the u.s. national hurricane center in miami. we know the hurricane is not expected to hit until sunday, but what is the latest you can tell us about conditions there? >> here's the latest with irene. it's a category three hurricane. maximum winds right now with the hurricane are 115 miles an hour. at the moment, it's pulling away from the american bahamas and it's about 500 miles south of cape hat rass, north carolina.
not a lot has changed with the system or the track. we still think it's going to turn to the north and likely begin to impact eastern portions of north carolina late tomorrow night and especially on saturday. the hurricane may make land fall there as a category three system. that is definitely possible in eastern portions of north carolina. they're going to see some of the most significant impacts from this hurricane. after that, it will likely continue northward and still deliver significant impacts to the mid atlantic portion of the united states and the northeast. that will all happen late saturday and into sunday. and this still could be a very significant hurricane for even the new york city area later part of sunday. we don't have any hurricane watches up for new york yet, but it does extend to new jersey. it will likely expand tomorrow. this is a big hurricane. certainly not an every year event. we don't usually see hurricanes very often up in the mid-atlantic and northeast
united states, so irene should be taken very, very seriously. >> a very big hurricane that needs to be taken seriously. a state of emergency has been declared. thousands of evacuated. what else is being done to prepare for its arrival? >> pretty much what you said is spot-on. at least from our angle as forecasters, we're working with other local meteorologists to help issue these warnings. they work with emergency managers that help prepare the local communities. every community, there's a different lead based upon what that specific threat is. anywhere from south carolina all the way up to new york at this point is taking preparation. >> all right. a meteorologist in miami, thank you. the former thai prime minister wraps up his controversial visit to japan this weekend. he's offered his condolences to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami and has spoken about strengthening economic relation between japan and thailand. he is a brother of the recently
elected prime minister, and his visit has fueled speculation about his political ambitions. to analyze the significance, i'm joined by a man from the institute of southeastern studies. why is this so controversial? >> because this is about taxing, political redemption. claimed that he has been mistreated. he wants to prove with this trip to japan that he has always been a legitimate leader. japan welcomes him back to the country. i think he just wants to act that he is the de facto prime minister of thailand. he'll go to japan, talk to many powerful people in japan. so even though he has no political position at home. >> as you say, he's trying to put himself as the de facto prime minister.
but how does this complicate matters at home for his government? >> it's really complicated. he's too rushed to come out. the fact that he would like to redeem, that puts his system of government in jeopardy. our leader is trying to impeach the foreign minister for helping what they call a criminal to get into japan, and that really put the government into a very difficult position. >> we know that he has been tried on corruption. but why is he so unpopular amongst bang congress' establishment? because he still has a lot of popularity within the villages. >> exactly. because he has remained very plamplee hugely popular. that's why he won a landslide
election again. because he remains hugely popular. when the democrat party was in power, until recently, they were thought to block passing entries. perhaps it's now time to strike back. >> years of political instability in thailand. do you think thailand will ever achieve peace or consistency in its relationship? >> it will be very difment i'm not sure whether the reconciliation process would be efwective. you can still see that. it is far from over. i think it will be a long time. >> all right. thank you very much for that. in other news, steve jobs, the
man who made apple one of the most richest, most successful companies in the world, is to step down as chief executive. he's been on medical leave for much of this year after receiving treatment for cancer. mr. jobs has overseen the huge success of the ipod, the iphone, and the ipad. >> he's persuaded consumers to pay top prices for gadgets like the iphone and ipad that look and sometimes work better than their rivals. >> we're going to make some history together today. >> apple's founding genius was never one to undersell his products. now he's stepping down. steve jobs has been in poor health for some time, and in a letter to apple's board, he wrote, i have always said if there ever came a day when i could no longer meet my duties of expectations as apple's c.e.o., i would be the first to let you know. unfortunately, that day has come. >> you've just seen some pictures of mcintosh. now i'd like to show you
mcintosh in person. >> despite his early success with the ground breaking mac, jobs was forced out of apple in the 1980's, but returned a decade later to breathe new life into an ailing company. not everybody liked his style, but one admirer sent me this message about his iphone. >> it's steven here. i'm happy to talk about steve jobs. i don't think there is a human being on the planet who has been as influential in the last 30 years on the way culture developed. >> for steve jobs, think different wasn't just an advertising slow gafpble it was the way he ran his whole business. nobody thought a computer firm knew anything about the music industry until the ipod changed everything. apple had never made a mobile phone until the iphone transformed another industry. and the idea that millions of people might want to use a tablet computer seemed farfetched, until steve jobs showed off the ipad.
now his firm will have to think different without him. continuing to break new ground without the man who's come to embody apple is bound to be a challenge. >> i think it's going to be hard for them to really find that level of commitment and passion that steve brought. that said, there are still really extraordinary people at apple. still one of the great companies in the apple. >> apple's history as been about more than just one man. but steve job's successors will now have to prove they can spot what consumers want before they even know it themselves. rory cashman jones, "bbc news." >> you've been watching "newsday" from the bbc. i'm in singapore. >> i'm in london. libyan rebels say that they're transfering their government to the capital of tripoli from their base in benghazi. much more on that story on our website. but from us in london and singapore, bye-bye for now.